A haven of greenery and color, the Majorelle Garden is a small haven of peace in the heart of Marrakech. This garden was created in 1931 by the French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886 – 1962) around his surprisingly modern Art Deco workshop, built by the architect Paul Senior. Throughout his travels, the artist Jacques Majorelle became a gardener to bring back from the four corners of the world or to exchange with distant correspondents as passionate about botany as his hundreds of rare varieties of trees and plants.
This garden is a living work of art exhibiting plants from five continents. Bamboo, palm trees, cacti, flower pots, and aquatic plants are married with great finesse and can only impress visitors. In 1937, the artist created an ultramarine blue that was intense and clear: Majorelle blue, with which he colored his garden, which he opened to the public in 1947. What was Jacques Majorelle’s studio now houses the Berber Museum, which was inaugurated in 2011 under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohamed VI.
It presents a panorama of the extraordinary creativity of this person, the oldest in North Africa. More than 600 objects collected by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent attest to the richness and diversity of a still-alive culture from the Rif to the Sahara.
The Berber Museum of Majorelle
The Berber Museum inaugurated in 2011 under the High Patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, is housed in the former painting studio of the artist Jacques Majorelle. It presents a panorama of the extraordinary creativity of the Berbers (Imazighen), the most ancient people of North Africa. More than 600 objects collected from the Rif Mountains to the Sahara by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent attest to the richness and diversity of this vibrant culture.
The collection is displayed in four distinct spaces, each devoted to a particular theme. Before entering the exhibition rooms, The museum presents an overview of the history of the Berber (Imazighen) people of Morocco and a map showing the location of the significant Berber tribes throughout the country. Audiovisual elements are used in the museum to enhance visitors’ appreciation of Berber culture.
“Since I arrived in Marrakech in 1966, I have remained fascinated by Berber art and culture. Over the years, I have collected and admired this art which extends to many countries simultaneously.
The Berbers have always been rightly proud of their culture. They have not ceased to reclaim their identity despite the alterations they have faced. In Marrakech, in Berber country, in the Jardin Majorelle, which was created by an artist who painted so many scenes of Berber men and women, the idea of this museum occurred to us quite naturally.”
The Cafe Majorelle
The building, located in the former servants’ quarters at the time of Jacques Majorelle, was inspired by rammed-earth constructions seen throughout the Berber regions of North Africa. It was later renovated – while guarding its rural spirit – by the garden designer Madison Cox. Its interior includes small Moroccan salons with fireplaces and an inner courtyard with orange trees and white bougainvilleas.
The Café Majorelle is open at the same hours as the garden. Whether Moroccan or Continental, breakfast is served in the morning, and an à la carte menu is offered for lunch, including light salads and warm dishes prepared with fresh, local products.
Throughout the day, one can enjoy cool beverages, seasonal fruit juices, and a variety of teas, including a traditional Moroccan mint tea infused with wormwood leaves.